Imperative & Conjunctions – Traum – Cro

    This week’s German Learning Tip of the Week is a lyrical analysis of Cro’s song “Traum”. This song can teach you the command form with the du-form and about the word order with subordinating and coordinating conjunctions. If you want the general overview, you can watch the video below. If you want more than that, you can keep reading this blog post.

    Command Form (Imperative)

    Although Cro’s song can teach you about the command form with “du”, it doesn’t teach you the other ways to do commands. So, let’s take a closer look at the entirety of the imperative.

    The most common form is the one that is explained in the video. The du-form command is pretty easy to form most of the time. You simply conjugate the verb, as you normally would. Then you drop the du and -st out of the sentence. What you are left with, is the command form. Here are a few examples with regular verbs.

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    Schrei!

    sagen – to say

    Sag, was du sagen musst! – Say what you need to say. (John Mayer)

    kommen – to come

    Komm her! – Come over here.

    gehen – to go

    Geh nach Hause! – Go home.

    If the verb takes an e-i or e-ie stem-change, that stem-change stays in the command form. For example:

    lesen – to read

    Du liest ein Buch. – You are reading a book.

    Lies ein Buch! – Read a book.

    geben – to give

    Gibst du das mir? – Are you giving me that?

    Gib mir das! – Give me that.

    This rule, however, doesn’t work with the stem-changing verbs when there is an a-ä. For example:

    Fährst du schneller?

    fahren – to drive

    Fährst du schneller? – Are you driving faster?

    Fahr schneller! – Drive faster.

    If the verb ends with a -t at the end of the stem, you add an -e when you conjugate to the du-form in the present tense. This -e remains in the command form. For example:

    warten – to wait

    Wartest du auf mich? – Are you waiting for me?

    Warte auf mich! – Wait for me.

    reden – to talk

    Du redest sehr schnell. – You talk very fast.

    Rede nicht so schnell! – Don’t talk so fast.

    If you are commanding more than one person with whom you use the du-form, you would use the ihr-form command. This is considerably easier to form in German, because you don’t have to worry about irregular verbs and you don’t drop letters from the conjugation. It doesn’t matter if a verb ends with a -t or not. You simply drop the “ihr” out of the sentence. I always tell my students to “Drop the ‘ihr’ like van Gogh.” Here are a few examples. Er geht nach Hause.

    Geht nach Hause! – Go home.

    Lest bitte vor! – Read aloud.

    Gebt mir das! – Give me that.

    Fahrt schneller! – Drive faster.

    Wartet auf mich! – Wait for me.

    If you are commanding someone that you with whom you would use the Sie-form, you simply put the verb first and put the subject (Sie) second. Here are the same examples with that version.

    Gehen Sie nach Hause! – Go home.

    Lesen Sie bitte vor! – Read aloud.

    Geben Sie mir das! – Give me that.

    Fahren Sie schneller! – Drive faster.

    Warten Sie auf mich! – Wait for me.

    Coordinating & Subordinating Conjunctions

    And now, on to the more complicated stuff. Most people don’t even notice the coordinating conjunctions, because they don’t effect word order at all. In German these conjunctions include: aber, denn, oder and und. These words connect words with other words and phrases with other phrases. Here are a few examples.

    Ich habe einen Hund aber keine Katze. – I have a dog, but no cat.

    Ich habe einen Hund, aber ich habe keine Katze.Ich habe einen Hund, aber ich habe keine Katze. – I have a dog, but I don’t have a cat.

    Mein Bruder ist stärker als ich, denn er hebt Gewichte.

    Ich ging einkaufen, denn ich brauchte neue Kleidung.

    Hast du einen Hund, eine Katze, oder einen Fisch?

    Isst du lieber eine Orange oder einen Apfel.

    Ich habe eine Katze und einen Hund.

    Ich gehe ins Kino und zur Bank.

    There are a bunch of subordinating conjunctions in German as well. These conjunctions include: als, bevor, damit, dass, obwohl, weil, and wenn. These always effect the word order in some way. If they are in the middle of a sentence, as they are most of the time in English, the conjugated verb in the secondary clause moves to the end of the clause. For example:

    Ich wusste nicht, dass er müde war.

    Ich hatte einen Hund, als ich jünger war. – I had a dog, when I was younger.

    Du sollst einen Keks nehmen, bevor du nach Hause gehst. – You should take a cookie, before you go home.

    Du sollst eine Jacke mitbringen, damit du nicht erfrierst. – You should bring a jacket along, so that you don’t freeze to death.

    Ich wusste nicht, dass du müde warst. – I didn’t know that you were tired.

    Es ist mir nicht kalt, obwohl es hier kalt ist. – I am not cold, although it is cold here.

    Ich esse jeden Tag Pizza, weil es mir gefällt. – I eat pizza everyday, because I like it.

    Ich schlafe wenn ich schlafen will. – I sleep, when I want to sleep.

    If the subordinating conjunction comes at the beginning of the sentence, the two clauses form a verb cluster around the comma in the middle. For example:

    Als ich jünger war, hatte ich einen Hund. – When I was younger, I had a dog.

    Bevor du nach Hause gehst, nimm bitte einen Keks. – Before you go home, please take a cookie.

    Damit du nicht erfrierst, sollst du eine Jacke mitbringen. – So that you don’t freeze to death, you should bring a jacket along.

    Dass du müde warst, wusste ich nicht. – That you were tired, was unknown to me. (Caution: This type of construction with “dass” is not common and may sound a bit odd to some.)

    Obwohl es hier kalt ist, ist es mir nicht kalt. – Although it is cold here, I am not cold.

    Da es mir gefällt, esse ich jeden Tag Pizza. – Because I like it, I eat pizza everyday. (Caution: You can’t start a sentence with “weil” so I started this sentence with “da”, which still means “because”, but is used at the beginning of a sentence.)

    Wenn ich schlafen will, schlafe ich. – If I want to sleep, I sleep.

    I hope this post has at least brought some of the more intricate details of German grammar to light. I think the usage of subordinating conjunctions in German is a lot of fun to play around with. You can make some really strange sentences in German with the help of a subordinating conjunction and it gives you more flexibility with songs if you know how to use them properly.

    What’s next?

    Next week I will do another present tense German conjugation video. The following week will be the lyrical analysis video with Thomas Godoj’s song “Was wäre wenn”.

    Herr Antrim

    Herr Antrim is a German teacher with over 10 years of teaching experience. In 2011 he started his successful YouTube Channel "Learn German with Herr Antrim". In 2015 he created this website to enhance the German language lessons he was providing on YouTube. He is now the author of his own e-book, "Beginner German with Herr Antrim". He has also been featured on numerous blogs and other sites. *This site uses Amazon Affiliate links. If there is a link that leads to Amazon, it is very likely an affiliate link for which Herr Antrim will receive a small portion of your purchase. This does not cost you any extra, but it does help keep this website going.